Leave Journalists Alone, Fight Terrorists, Bandits, Editors Tell FG

Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has condemned the frequent abduction and arrest of journalists in the country by security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), under the guise of enforcing the Cybersecurity Act.

The Guild warned of the consequence of such illegal actions on press freedom.

The professional body of media executives and senior editors also warned of the dangers of allowing certain territories of the Nigerian states to fall into the hands of terrorists and bandits and expressed optimism that the federal government has all it takes to flush out these enemies of the country and guarantee peace and security of the people.

The Guild stated these in a press statement signed by its president, Mr Eze Anaba, and the general secretary, Dr Iyobosa Uwugiaren, at the end of its Standing Committee meeting in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.

According to the Guild, ‘’The meeting deliberated on the state of the media with emphasis on the increasing spate of abduction and arrest of journalists in the country – under the guise of enforcing the Cyber Security Act, and warned of the implications of such illegal actions on press freedom.

The professional body of media executives and editors, while warning the security agencies, especially the Nigeria Police, against press freedom violation, called for a proper understanding and intention of the Cyber Security Act, declaring that the law was enacted as a legal framework for combating cybercrimes and not for persecuting journalists, who are performing their legitimate duties in a democracy.’’

The editors particularly condemned the method of abduction/arrest of journalists, the long detention and inhuman treatment they are subjected to, and said it was a negation of a democratic space.

It said, ‘’Press freedom is the ability of the media to report news and express opinion without government interference, censorship, or retribution. It is a fundamental human right essential for a healthy democracy, allowing citizens to access accurate information, hold leaders accountable, and participate in informed public discourse.’’.

The NGE noted th harsh economic ecosystem in which the media currently operates in Nigeria and called on the federal government to ensure the industry’s sustainability through robust economic policies and direct interventions that can enhance its capacity to transcend existing challenges.

Commenting on the state of the nation, the Guild congratulated the government on its one year in office and advised it to step up its fight against insecurity in certain parts of the country to flush out terrorists and insurgents, who have continued to perpetrate mayhem in some communities.

NGE also decried the current high cost of living, exacerbated by the federal government’s harsh economic policies and programmes, and called for sustainable interventions to mitigate the policies’ several biting effects.

The Guild expressed its appreciation to the Rivers State Government for providing a conducive environment for the meeting and hoped that the government’s current peace initiative would be sustained in the general interest of the people and development.

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